Alumin Photo

Ben Frank (BBHS ’52)

Born: 1935,  Montreal, Quebec

Ben Frank, the oldest of five boys was raised in an apartment above a hat shop in the plateau area of Montreal. His father fled the Russian pogroms in 1906 and eventually opened a delicatessen on the lower Main.  Frank and all his brothers worked there at one time or another. Frank, who was an excellent athlete,  lettered in baseball and basketball at BBHS, and always dreamed of being a professional baseball player.

After graduating  Frank worked for a leading trade publisher for the garment industry in Montreal.  Three years later, he enrolled in Boston University, and subsequently studied law at New York University.  He entered private practice in the early sixties,where he was employed by Senator Jacob Javits’ law firm.

Frank discovered early in his legal career  he had a calling for public service. In 1967 he was named Deputy Commissioner of the Office of General Services for the State of New York. He played a crucial role in initiating the States Office Building in the heart of Harlem’s business district. This proved to be one of America’s first affirmative-action programs.

He returned to the private sector in 1971 to become Senior Vice President, Legal and Governmental Affairs for Allied Stores Corporation. Given his political skills, he became a nationally recognized leader and spokesperson for the retail industry which led to representing that industry during President Reagan’s successful election campaign in 1980. Three years later, President Reagan appointed him to his Advisory Committee for Trade Negotiations, which subsequently negotiated the first free trade agreement (NAFTA) with Canada. He was an advisor and confidante of William Casey, former director of the CIA. In Casey’s book The Lives and Secrets of William H. Casey: From the OSS to the CIA, Ben Frank is mentioned numerous times.

Frank left Allied Stores after 15 years to initiate a real estate development project in Williston, Vermont. He also became the founder and CEO of Ben & Jerry’s Canada.

In addition to his professional accomplishments, Frank has devoted time to community and educational activities. He has served as Trustee, Vice President and Board Member of the North Shore University Hospital on Long Island and also on the Board of Lifeline Center, a school for autistic children. In 2009, Florida’s Governor appointed him to the Board of the Health Care for the district of Palm Beach County.  He became the Board Chair in 2011. Today he resides in  both Florida and Montreal. Click here to see the video interview with Ben Frank.